Taiwan’s Gogoro has a new scooter coming out that’s smaller and more adaptable than anything else in the company’s growing stable. It’s called “Viva,” and it will be available for $1,800 in Taiwan in October, and “some global markets” starting in 2020.
At 80 kilograms (176 pounds), the Viva is the smallest and most nimble scooter that Gogoro’s created to date. It’s meant to be a city commuter, something that can replace a 50-100cc gas scooter that’s often used for short trips. As such, it has a range of just 85 kilometers (just shy of 53 miles).
Only 53 miles of range, but in Taipei, there are battery swaps on almost every corner
But like all of Gogoro’s other scooters, the Viva is powered by swappable batteries. So any time a user is running out of juice they can stop at one of the company’s 1,400 battery swap stations scattered throughout Taiwan. The difference is that the Viva will use just one battery, whereas Gogoro’s other scooters use two. (That’s likely thanks to the fact that Gogoro has been switching over to new batteries that use the same type of Panasonic cells found in the Tesla Model 3.)
The Viva scooter will also be “completely customizable,” Gogoro CEO Horace Luke tells The Verge, with “over 100 accessories that you can bolt on.” Despite its small size, the Viva also has 21 liters (under one cubic foot) of storage.
“You can make it a utility vehicle if you want, you can make it a more stylish vehicle if you want, you can make it a more naked vehicle if you want, or you can put on a whole bunch of bags and carrying gear,” he says.
Luke also says he expects the Viva to be less intimidating than Gogoro’s other scooters, which are larger and faster. “It’s less like a motorcycle, and more like something where you can say: ‘I need to go half a mile, or two or three miles, from point A to point B, and I can jump on this and I don’t have any stress doing it,’” he says.
Gogoro debuted its first scooter all the way back at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, but the company has since released multiple iterations on the design. The most recent, the Gogoro 3, can last for 105 miles on two full batteries. (That model runs for about $2,500.)
Along the way, the company has gobbled up market share in Taiwan, while slowly testing out markets outside its home country. Gogoro has trialed vacation rentals in Japan, more straightforward shared rental services in France and Germany, and recently provided scooters to delivery services in Korea. In total, Luke says, more than 1 billion kilometers (621 million miles) have been driven on the company’s scooters.
The company has also partnered up with some incumbent scooter manufacturers like Yamaha to help accelerate a broader switchover to electric, and positions its battery swap stations as a way to help power-hungry cities handle peak energy demand. The Viva scooter helps complete a product line that Luke says should be very attractive to cities that want to change how people get around in a sustainable way.
“Everybody wants micromobility in their city, but micromobility that is steady, that is licensed, that is kind of governed,” he says. “We’re going to try and spread this as big as possible over the next 24 months.”